ACI brings strong argument and impressive coalition for PFCs

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Controversy surrounds Passenger Facility

ACI produces impressive, substantive brochure 

Plus a strong coalition of supporters

Passenger Facility Charges trace their roots to litigation over a specific airport’s head tax and reached its first enactment through a “trade” with the airlines. A4A and anti-tax groups oppose it as another tax and even as a charge will deter traffic.

There can be little debate that an airline ticket is already heavily taxed, but one can rationally argue that a PFC is a form of devolution- allowing the local government to decide how much to tax its citizens for what project when. The airlines serving an airport for which a PFC has some say on what, when and how much.Those are words from the vocabulary of some libertarian politicians.

Given that historic opposition, ACI-NA’s CEO Burke has produced an impressive 36 page, 4 color brochure showing the infrastructure needs in detail and with several economic tables showing the diminished power of PFCs vis-a-viz CPI. More impressively, Mr. Burke amassed a long list of DC associations which are involved in construction.

The battle is drawn-

Airports Council Study: America’s Airports Face $128 Billion in Infrastructure Needs

CEO urges Congress to modernize the passenger facility charge.

Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA)

MARCH 4, 2019


Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA), the trade association representing commercial service airports in the United States and Canada, unveiled a new study detailing the significant infrastructure needs of America’s airports.

The results of the study, which were first released at an infrastructure event in Washington with ACI-NA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kevin Burke and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, found that America’s airports require more than $128 billion in infrastructure upgrades by 2023, with more than 56 percent of the needs inside aging terminals.

ACI-NA CEO Burke thanked Chairman DeFazio for his support of America’s airports and urged Congress to modernize the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC). The PFC is a local user fee that airports rely on to repair aging facilities, improve aviation safety, and accommodate rising demand. He also noted that airports have a national economic impact of $1.4 trillion and support over 11 million jobs.

Several airport infrastructure projects around the country, including in San Francisco, Asheville, Columbus, Des Moines, and Spokane, are currently on hold due to lack of funding.

A copy of the report can be found at, and quotes from the event can be found below.




Kevin Burke, President and CEO of Airports Council International – North America:

“…With America’s airports facing more than $128 billion in new infrastructure needs across the system and a debt burden of $91.6 billion from past projects, it is time to find the means to rebuild our nation’s aviation infrastructure and improve the passenger experience for millions of travelers. The time to act to address these infrastructure challenges is now…Over the last several years, I have had the pleasure of working alongside Chairman DeFazio to advance airport infrastructure investment. There is no greater champion for airport infrastructure investment…”


Chairman Peter DeFazio, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure:


“Today, we’ll see a report which shows what tremendous investments we need to make in America’s airports to provide a decent 21st century experience for air travelers…Congress has not allowed in almost 20 years an increase in the Passenger Facility Charge. If we had merely indexed it to inflation, it would be substantially higher today than it is. A number of airports are bonded out, and in order to issue new bonds and do additional capacity or terminal work, they are going to need an increase in the Passenger Facility Charge…”

Chairman Rick Larsen, Subcommittee on Aviation, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure:


“You don’t need to be an economist to see that investment in our airports falls far short…the time to act is now…the decades old fight about the PFC must come to an end.”

Lew Bleiweis, Executive Director of the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority:

“…Airports are the gateway to the rest of the world for our businesses and residents, but from Asheville to Des Moines, Memphis to Reno, and Charleston to Spokane, older and outdated facilities at our airports are hampering efforts by small and rural communities to grow and prosper…We appreciate Chairman DeFazio’s support for new airport investment by modernizing the outdated federal cap on the Passenger Facility Charge user fee.”

Stephen Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America:

“…These infrastructure investments support more than a quarter million construction jobs – jobs that offer good, middle class careers for all kinds of craftworkers…The policy idea behind this user fee is rooted in the fundamental American concept that you pay for what you use.”


Other groups have also expressed support for modernizing the PFC.

Robin A. Kemper, President of the American Society of Civil Engineers:

“The American Society of Civil Engineers gave our nation’s airports a “D” in the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card because of increasing congestion and underinvestment in our aviation infrastructure assets. Our nation’s aviation industry is technologically advanced and has economically efficient aircraft, but airport infrastructure and air traffic control systems are not keeping up. Airport traffic is increasing – it is expected that 24 out of the top 30 major airports may soon experience ‘Thanksgiving-peak traffic volume’ at least once a week. ASCE urges Congress to take action on improving and modernizing our nation’s airport infrastructure.”

Brian P. McGuire, President and CEO of the Associated Equipment Distributors:

“The time is long overdue for major upgrades to our nation’s airport infrastructure. With economic growth, quality of life and international competitiveness at stake, further delay is unacceptable. The American people demand results and it’s time for talk and promises to finally turn into congressional action by providing the essential investments needed to return the United States’ airport infrastructure to the envy of the world.”












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1 Comment on "ACI brings strong argument and impressive coalition for PFCs"

  1. Steve Van Beek | March 6, 2019 at 9:50 am | Reply

    Airline tickets are not heavily taxed. These fees—to provide capital and operating support for air traffic control and fund airport capital needs (vast majority)— are a cost of doing business that the airlines would otherwise have to fund. PFCs, in contrast, are federally authorized local funds for FAA approved Projects. The airlines like to attempt to confuse the argument by including sin taxes (the last time I checked we don’t have federal tobacco fields or liquor bottling plants).

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